Bloom Dementia Friendly Garden 2017
Newtown Saunders, TrinityHaus and Sonas apc are the dynamic team behind the Bloom Dementia Friendly Garden (DFG). The design is led by Tom Grey, a Research Fellow at TrinityHaus, Trinity College Dublin, who with his architectural background, has undertaken many age-friendly and dementia-friendly design projects.
Dementia can bring difficulties with short-term memory, comprehension, orientation, spatial awareness, visual perception and mobility. These difficulties are gently accommodated in the Bloom Dementia Friendly Garden, where a clever use of layout, colour, planting and customised garden fittings creates an attractive, safe and therapeutic outdoor space. It is designed to tap into a person’s retained skills, abilities, interests and memories.
- Plants from the person’s youth – here daisies, lupins, lavender and dianthus – trigger memories and facilitate reminiscence
- Scented flowers, flowing water and birdsong stimulate the senses
- Zoning and colours provide visual cues, helping with orientation and way-finding
- The accessible raised planter, mini glasshouse & tool shed, and vertical planter give easy access to gardening activities and engagement with nature
The journey to Bloom began in 2013 when Clive Jones of Newtown Saunders Ltd (landscaping company), supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI), funded TrinityHaus to undertake a research project into dementia friendly gardens. Sinead Grennan and Noreen Keane, representing Sonas apc, came on board in 2015, and the research results were piloted. Newtown Saunders Ltd, again supported by EI, funded a DFG design service for four centres, and was inundated with applications. A road trip around Ireland ensued as the team worked with the winning centres in Leitrim, Limerick, Cork and Dublin to collaboratively design therapeutic gardens for residents, relatives and staff to enjoy.